Cuomo Requires Food With Booze – What Bars Can And Can’t Do Now
Late last week Governor Cuomo announced a change to the guidelines for restaurants and bars doing business during the coronavirus pandemic. Bars and restaurants throughout New York state will no longer be allowed to serve alcohol to customers unless they also order food, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his press conference Thursday.
So, why the change, and what can restaurants do and not do now?
The main reason for the change is the number of complaints that the state is getting about bars and restaurants not following the state's guidelines for reopening. Large crowds, no masks, and no social distancing is the main cause for the "Food With Booze" requirement. When people just order drinks, without food, there is a bigger temptation to just "hang out" and talk. Usually, congregating around the bar. That becomes a problem for social distancing and a lot of people have just been taking their masks off completely when drinking.
Since Thursday's announcement restaurants and bars have scrambled to change their way of doing business. One bar even started serving "Cuomo Chips" for a dollar to get around the new requirement.
So what can we expect when going to a bar or restaurant now? Well, for one, if you're at a sit-down restaurant the server won't be taking your drink order first. They now do what they call backward order taking where you order food and then your alcohol. Each member of your party has to order food, or you have to order something that could be shared by your party. Also, restaurants and bars are trying to figure out what counts as "food". Some are saying the bar snacks like pretzels and popcorn counts. While others say it has to be real food like a sandwich. To-go Alcohol also now has to be sold with some kind of food item.
Just like most of the coronavirus guidelines, it's confusing for both the business and the customers.